Monday, 19 November 2018


Yesterday after the Reading show I posted the following on one of the many Facebook wargaming forums, prompted by the sight of racks upon racks of wargaming stuff being sold in transparent plastic packaging.....

This week I saw several news items and reports about supermarkets and single-use plastic packaging. Going around Warfare in Reading today I was suddenly struck by the massive use of single-use plastic packaging in wargaming. Not very environmentally conscious, are we?

The response was, to be honest, quite surprising . And some of it quite unpleasant, which TBH I found a bit of a shock. 

I do of course understand that some wargamers are adept at turning every bit of junk into something wonderful, and I myself do chop up clear plastic packs to use as windows, helicopter rotors etc. but I'm also sure that many do not. And it just struck me that whilst the retail industry in general is getting a bit of a bashing for excessive use of plastics in packaging the wargames industry doesn't have the same qualms (and some of the packing was quite ridiculous - three 28mm figures in a pack that would take a dozen or more).

Some respondents on the site thought I was pushing some political agenda (rang-tans anyone?), or that I was "imposing my values" on people (what a ridiculous notion). Instead I was just trying to get people to think a bit. Some did. Some just ranted. And some were just downright offensive. It was an interesting exercise.....


  1. Something I've often noticed too. Hardly surprised you got grief of people though, sadly.



  2. Hi David,

    I must admit that I had not really thought about the packaging aspect of our hobby but you are absolutely right about the amount of waste there is.

    Of greater concern though is the fact that some people have been less than considerate about the issue.

    This is a topic that I believe needs to be raised with a far larger audience.

    I feel a crusade coming on.....

    All the best,


  3. It could just be us hippies on Vancouver Island, but recycling is a surprisingly non-partisan issue on the West Coast (of North America). Companies see reduced packaging as reduced cost, and are able to make having compostable/recyclable packaging as a selling point rather than an imposition, so all sides get behind it. Mind you, we have community recycling initiatives that recycle single use plastic as well as Styrofoam all over the island, and many municipalities have banned single use plastic bags so we're probably not representative of all of Canada. I'm sorry to hear that people are taking offence to you pointing out waste. I'd see it as an opportunity to improve profit margins while helping cut waste, it's not like that plastic is keeping the products fresh.

  4. I absolutely agree that plastic is way over-used in general, and that expressing even the mildest of opinion about that or anything else brings forth the trolls (who apparently have neither manners nor a life beyond their keyboard)!

    I do want to offer an opinion as to why single-use products are becoming more popular in certain situations. My buddy recently began using using single-use tubes of crazy glue, because opening most regular-sized tubes causes them to harden within a few days. Not only is this a waste of money, but it leads to having to buy more tubes of glue; as a result, the amount of packaging, etc., may work out to be the same in the long run.

    It would be nice if this phenomenon could be avoided, but the nature of the glue suggests it can't be--thus single-use tubes become preferable.

    For what it's worth...

    Best regards,

    Chris Johnson

  5. Good call, at one stage a plastic figure manufacturer used to have a large box for the waste sprues from customers that could then be recyled back into more figures. It would be nice to see Victrix/Renedra/Perry/PSC do it as Polystyrene is one of the least recyled plastics, but extremely easy to do so if it is segregated.

  6. 100% agree with you on this one.

  7. Ranting? On the internet? Whatever next?
    You make a good point though. But (sadly) packaging seems to be what sells these days. I suggest that a visit to a toy soldier show - I’d recommend Plastic Warrior in May - would serve as an antidote to an increasingly pre-packaged world.

  8. Serves you right for going on Facebook mate. It's infested with non-wargamers apparently.

  9. Good points, well made and it does seem to have down a good job of upsetting people on FB and TMP so bonus points there :)

    There's a lot of waste in packaging and it does no harm to ask people to think for a minute. Interestingly I saw a supermarket (in London I think?) has gone plastic free, using cellulose in some items as a replacement.

  10. Personally, I don't use much plastic in the hobby, but I have always recycled the sprues - since they are hard, I assume they can be. Maybe not??

    I suspect at least some of the ranting was caused by the way you stated it: "Not very environmentally conscious, are we?" sounds judgmental, even if you didn't intend it that way. Being encircled by many sensitive types [well, not so many in historical miniatures, perhaps] I am pretty well practiced at phrasing things so that the snowflakes don't melt.

    Personally, I'd have phrased it as: "This week I saw several news items and reports about supermarkets and single-use plastic packaging. Going around Warfare in Reading today I was suddenly struck by the massive use of single-use plastic packaging in wargaming. I wonder if there's a way to reduce it that is good for both the industry and the consumer...any insights from anyone?"

    So, merely because I like your work, and having no personal financial interest in it, I volunteer to "sensitize" your comments, on a case by case basis, for the near future. Or until you're hunted down by rabid Fb'ers, ensconced in saran wrap, and come to some terrible end at their hands - poked with broken Perry Bros plastic sprues, or some such thing.

    Cheers! QC

  11. Hi David, this is a very good point. Ann & I at Sally 4th have been pondering for the last 6 months or so, as we have a new range (Albedo) which we are launching and promoting. We have tried to reduce plastic. The industry norm, is of course blister backs, possibly with some foam backing.

    We have gone for plastic grip bags for 1 - 5 figures (70mm x 100mm) with a card backing inside, and cardboard boxes for box sets (8-12 figures) and vehicles with a paper wrap around them.

    The plastic bags, are still plastic, but at shows people like to see what's in a pack, hopefully a grip bag can be re-used.

    Very interested to hear any suggestions.
    I know that Richard at Otherworld has also really reduced the amount of packaging for figures as well, going for the grip bag and card header approach too.